"Theres no business like . . ." Seeing Harlands face Jay stifled the joke. "Its a pity you didnt get his passport," Harland said.
Jay looked offended." You try kissing a dead shoe salesman with vomit in his mouth and see how long you can stand feeling him up at the same time. As things are, I probably established some kind of record out there."
"You think they knew each other?"
Jay shook his head. "Rosenharte said the man had an attack of some sort practically fell into his arms foaming at the mouth." "We saw it from the warehouse. I got the impression he was just trying to speak to him. What about the taste you mentioned? You think it was poison?"
Jay wrinkled his nose. "Dunno. I feel okay."
"Good. So whos monitoring his phone at the hotel?"
"Cuth has gone to take over from Jessie."
"Christ, I hope Jessies changed by now."
"Of course. Shell look just the part. Rosenhartes going to fall in love all over again."
"We dont need him to. All that matters is that the Stasi believe she really is Annalise." Harland noticed the doubt in Jays eyes. "What?" he demanded.
"Well, theres so much that is out of our control."
"Its an intelligence operation, for Petes sake, Jamie, not a bloody garden party."
"Well, weve done our best with the letters and Jessie, but in the end it all depends on Rosenhartes reaction."
"Right," said Harland. "If for one moment he looks like he doesnt recognize her, or gives the slightest hint she isnt Annalise, hes lost and might as well defect tonight. He wont last a minute under Schwarzmeers interrogation."
"Yes, Brigadier-General Julius Schwarzmeer, director of the Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung." He paused and looked at Jays eager face. "Sorry, I forget that youre rather rusty on all this. Still, its good of you to give your time like this."
"The HVA is the foreign arm of the Stasi a sub-section, right?"
"Yes, theyre in the same building in Normannenstrasse and the HVA has officers in all the Stasi regional headquarters."
"The same people, then?"
"The HVA are better trained, better paid and allowed to travel to the West. The ordinary Stasi officer has to make do with the occasional holiday in Bulgaria."
"And the purpose of all this? I mean, I get the immediate aim, but whats the bigger picture?"
"If it comes off, youll see. It may even help in your patch."
"With all respect I very much doubt Oman is going to benefit from this."
"Youd be surprised. Shake the sand out of your boots, Jamie. Theres a lot to connect the problems in your part of the world with the Stasi. Thats what this operation is about. Thats why I have the chief s blessing and why the Joint Intelligence Committee so eagerly await the results of our efforts here tonight." He stopped. "Look, Id better be getting along. I want to give the wallet to the Italians and Im interested to hear what theyve got to say about Rosenhartes state of mind after that business out on the pier."
They climbed out the back of the van together. It was almost dark by now. Harland noticed that huge thunderclouds had formed and trapped the heat in the city. The last light from the west touched their summits and gave each a rosy peak.
Excerpted from The Brandenberg Gate, (c) 2006 Henry Porter. Reproduced with permission of Grove Atlantic. All rights reserved.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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